UFCW 1518 received news on Friday that Save-On-Foods has decided to end its Pandemic Premium effective Saturday, May 30.
We are shocked and disappointed by this announcement and our union is ready to take immediate action to stand up for our members in the face of this troubling development.
On March 20, 2020, when the Pandemic Premium was first announced, UFCW 1518 commended Save-On-Foods for taking the important step to recognize their employees for their essential work during the COVID-19 pandemic. As British Columbia re-opens and businesses begin to navigate new regulations and business practices, there is tremendous uncertainty about the future and the safety of front line workers. Premier John Horgan has said that “we are far from out of the woods” on the COVID-19 pandemic. Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry has assured the public that a second wave of the virus is imminent.
Rescinding the Pandemic Premium during this time is an irresponsible and unfair move and our union is ready to take a stand for grocery workers.
“BC is only beginning to relax its pandemic response this week, and the crisis is far from over, especially for front line workers,” says UFCW 1518 President Kim Novak. “There remains a lot of uncertainty around what could happen in the coming months. Meanwhile, Save-On-Foods members continue to assume risks by showing up to work every day. Ongoing recognition for that commitment is the least these workers deserve. It is just too soon to end the Pandemic Premium.”
Last month, Save-On-Foods President Darrell Jones stated that their “top priority is always the health and safety of team members (…). They are the ones leaving their homes to help their neighbours get food on the table, and it’s so important that they’re recognized for their commitment to their communities.” We need the company to act according to their words and recognize the current state of the pandemic, as well as the heroic work of those still on the front lines.
On May 25, BC’s Finance Minister Carole James called for businesses like Save-On-Foods to pay their workers fairly while they are playing such a critical role, saying “I would encourage all businesses who’ve seen an increase in revenue to ensure that their workers are being properly compensated at this difficult time.”
We’ve been in touch with Save-On-Foods to make our position clear: we need them to reinstate the Pandemic Premium immediately. Today, the union started a letter-writing campaign, asking union members and members of the public to send a letter of support to Darrell Jones asking him to extend the Pandemic Premium.
If you are a Save-On-Foods member and have any questions or concerns about this recent development, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us at [email protected] or 1.800.661.3708.